El Camino College Union

Twin sisters are ‘double trouble’ for EC volleyball team

Caitlin+%28left%29+and+Kelly+Donatucci+pose+for+a+photo+after+EC+defeats+Rio+Hondo+25-14%2C+25-17%2C+and+25-13+in+the+volleyball+game+played+on+Wednesday%2C+Oct.+24+in+the+South+Gym.
Caitlin (left) and Kelly Donatucci pose for a photo after EC defeats Rio Hondo 25-14, 25-17, and 25-13 in the volleyball game played on Wednesday, Oct. 24 in the South Gym.

Caitlin (left) and Kelly Donatucci pose for a photo after EC defeats Rio Hondo 25-14, 25-17, and 25-13 in the volleyball game played on Wednesday, Oct. 24 in the South Gym.

Jack Kan

Jack Kan

Caitlin (left) and Kelly Donatucci pose for a photo after EC defeats Rio Hondo 25-14, 25-17, and 25-13 in the volleyball game played on Wednesday, Oct. 24 in the South Gym.

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Standing on the court alert as they pace side to side, with just one look and one head nod to each other, two sisters stay in position ready for the ball to come over the net as they silently communicate.

This silent language has helped these two sisters understand each other better throughout the games they play as they continue to succeed on the El Camino women’s volleyball team.

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Caitlin (No.3) and Kelly (No.1) Donatucci look towards the bench during the EC-Rio Hondo volleyball game on Wednesday, Oct. 24 in the South Gym. Photo credit: Jack Kan

Caitlin and Kelly Donatucci, are only one minute apart and have shared much of their lives together on and off the court.

Growing up in Manhattan Beach, they have played volleyball since they were 11-years-old.

The sisters were taught to play the sport by their parents and their two brothers.

For many years they have played volleyball on the same team, helping them become “big contributors” at El Camino College, EC volleyball coach Liz Hazell said.

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Caitlin Donatucci (No. 3) sets the ball for Meris Ewell (No. 16) during the EC-Rio Hondo volleyball game on Wednesday, Oct. 24 in the South Gym. Photo credit: Jack Kan

Though their teammates struggled to identify who was who at the beginning of the season, their positions helped set them apart on the court.

Kelly is libero and a defensive specialist and wears a different color jersey for her position.

Caitlin plays setter, which is the playmaker, as she needs to block, pass, and set for her teammates.

“They are two of our main players, so Kelly plays libero and she kinda leads our defense and is our main passer, so she gets a ton of balls to let us stay in games,” head coach Liz Hazell said. “Caitlin is one of our setters, so she is in charge of distributing the ball to everybody and she decides who gets to hit, so that is a huge responsibility,” Hazell said. “Position-wise, they are totally different, but both of them are super vocal which helps us and they work well together.”

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Kelly Donatucci (No. 1) makes a pass to her sister Caitlin (No. 3) to set it, during the EC-Rio Hondo volleyball game on Wednesday, Oct. 24 in the South Gym. Photo credit: Jack Kan

For these two sisters, there are advantages and difficulties in being on the same team.

Sometimes, their communication with other teammates has to be different than how they talk to each other.

“The way I talk to her is completely different than how I talk to other people,” Caitlin said before practice. “It is so easy to yell at her ’cause she is my sister, I go home with her and we get over it in a second.”

They are also both very competitive which has affected some plays, as they almost called a game due to their arguing, Kelly said.

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Caitlin Donatucci serves the ball to Rio Hondo on Wednesday, Oct. 24 in the South Gym. Photo credit: Jack Kan

“We both are very competitive, we both want to win, so when the other isn’t doing well we get mad,” Caitlin adds.

As for some advantages, they think it is funny when people, like the referees, confuse them, because of how alike they look.

But their favorite thing is supporting one another and having each other on the court.

“It is so weird when she is off the court and I’m on the court,” Caitlin said. “The dynamic is off because we have literally been on the court [together] for nine years.”

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Kelly Donatucci (No.1) makes a pass during the EC-Rio Hondo volleyball game on Wednesday, Oct. 24 in the South Gym. Photo credit: Jack Kan

An outside hitter for the EC women’s volleyball team and teammate, Phina Leilua, talks about how she enjoys playing with them.

“Playing with them is like a pleasure, I honestly love playing with them,” Leilua said. “They’re both different, but playing with them is really fun.”

They communicate well on the court, as Leilua shared one of their experiences together.

“When I get a kill, Kelly will make a pass and Caitlin will set me, and I’m the hitter, so I’ll get the kill. I will look at them and we do like a funny dance,” Leilua adds.

Inside the court, their goal is to win, as they both are very competitive, but outside the court, they differ in their plans at EC as well as their personalities.

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Caitlin Donatucci (No. 3) sets the ball for Deeann Smith (No. 5) during the EC-Rio Hondo volleyball game on Wednesday, Oct. 24 in the South Gym. Photo credit: Jack Kan

Caitlin, currently a sociology major, plans on switching her major to marketing and she plans to stay in California after EC.

Caitlin refers to herself as the “feisty one.”

“I’m pretty feisty. When you first meet us I’m more closed off, more reserved,” Caitlin adds.

She doesn’t plan on playing after her two years at EC.

“This is it for me,” Caitlin said.

However, in the meantime, she enjoys playing and one of her favorite moments during a game is “having that one play where it just brings everyone together,” she said.

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Caitlin Donatucci (No. 3) makes a soft set during the EC-Rio Hondo volleyball game on Wednesday, Oct. 24 in the South Gym. Photo credit: Jack Kan

One thing she did want to share with people was that she doesn’t like being called “a twin.”

“I hate being called a twin, I am not a thing or it, I am an individual,” Caitlin said. “I hate when people make you feel like one.”

For her sister, Kelly, she is undecided but she is leaning towards majoring in communications.

Kelly also does not plan on playing after two years at EC because she would like to focus on her education, as her brothers did.

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Kelly Donatucci jumps high for her serve against Rio Hondo on Wednesday, Oct. 24 at El Camino College. Photo credit: Mari Inagaki

She came to El Camino to aspire to be like her brothers as she noticed “the impact it had on [her] brothers academically and now they are at amazing colleges due to their academics at El Camino,” Kelly said.

As she thrives in her academics, she shared her comment on being a twin.

“I think it is difficult to always be compared too,” Kelly said. “When you see twins, I don’t think it’s okay to compare us all the time, it isn’t always nice.”

As both, Kelly and Caitlin, continue to succeed on the EC women’s volleyball team, one thing they enjoy is being there for one another.

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Kelly Donatucci (left) and Caitlin Donatucci, high five each other during the volleyball game against Rio Hondo Wednesday, Oct. 24 at El Camino College. Photo credit: Mari Inagaki

“It makes me happy seeing her thriving,” Kelly said. “It’s a built-in best friend. You’re always with your best friend playing, it’s nice.”

 

Update: this story was updated to include photo credit to the featured image on Monday, Nov. 5 at 9 a.m.

Update: this story was updated to correct a spelling error on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 1:05 p.m.

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Twin sisters are ‘double trouble’ for EC volleyball team